Cruise the Great Lakes
Rich history, diverse cultures and spectacular vistas.
These are the Great Lakes ports of call.
Niagara Falls, Wine and Food
Found nestled between Lake Ontario to the north and Lake Erie to the south, the Niagara Region is famous for its spectacular natural wonder – Niagara Falls! This unique geographic location has blessed the area with a climate so perfect for growing grapes and tender fruits that Niagara is now almost as famous throughout the world for its wines. At last count, there were over 70 wineries in Niagara, many producing Icewine, the most unique wine of all. Most offer daily wine tours year-round, and if you’re a foodie, there is even a cooking school in Niagara-on-the-Lake offering day courses that specialize in using locally grown produce and locally made products or visit fresh fruit open-air markets selling freshly picked local strawberries, cherries or peaches. There are several old-time farmer’s markets selling local vegetables, meats and cheeses or baked goods.
The Welland Canal
In addition to our famous falls and wines, Niagara is home to the Welland Canal. This canal system ranks as one of the outstanding engineering feats of the twentieth century. The present-day Welland Canal is the fourth canal built to allow ships to defy the falls and conquer the height of the Niagara Escarpment in order to continue through the Great Lakes system. The canal extends 43.5 km (27 miles) from Port Weller, St. Catharines (lock 1) to Port Colborne (lock 8), with Lake Erie 99 m (326 ft) higher in elevation than Lake Ontario.
From end to end the Welland Canal comprises eight lift locks, including the unique Flight Locks 4, 5 and 6 where the locks are twinned, allowing for simultaneous passage of ships in both directions. Locks are numbered from north to south. Almost 40,000,000 metric tonnes of cargo pass through the Welland Canal every year. Thousands of visitors come to Niagara each year to watch the fascinating spectacle of ships going through the canal. Locks 3, 7 and 8 offer exceptional viewing centres.
Four communities directly border onto the Welland Canal: St. Catharines, Thorold, Welland and Port Colborne. Each community is unique and offers a multitude of interesting historic sites, shopping, dining, events, festivals and activities for visitors.
Niagara has a wealth of history depicted in its many community museums, highlighting the battles of the war of 1812, and the role Niagara played for the thousands who travelled the Underground Railroad to freedom.
Historic Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake offers life as a soldier in the 1800s experiences. Plans are underway to celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, starting in 2012 with festivities and events that you won’t want to miss. If local history fascinates you, visit the St. Catharines Museum at lock 3, the Port Colborne Historical & Marine Museum, the Welland Museum, or the Thorold Museum.
Arts and Entertainment
Theatre and entertainment are everywhere you look in Niagara. The Shaw Festival operates from April to October in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls offers live concerts year-round. Showboat Festival Theatre in Port Colborne operates a very entertaining summer program.
Shopaholics rejoice. Whether you enjoy quaint one-of-a-kind shops or large indoor malls, Niagara is well equipped. St. Catharines’ Pen Centre and the Seaway Mall in Welland are minutes from the canal. If you prefer to visit a village within a city, head to Port Dalhousie, West Street in Port Colborne, or Front Street in Thorold, where boutiques, art galleries and specialty stores are a treasure trove of delights.
The Great Outdoors
If you need your daily fix of golf, we’ve got championship golf courses that will test your skills. If you are a walker or a cyclist, there are great walking and cycling routes throughout Niagara. With bicycles available for rent, can you imagine a cycling trip along the canal?
A World of Experience Yet to Discover
It’s impossible to describe all that Niagara has to offer on this website, but Niagara Falls Tourism and community partners Port Colborne, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland guarantee that visitors will leave with wonderful memories of new experiences that will enrich their cruise on the Great Lakes.
Niagara Falls Tourism
6815 Stanley Avenue
Niagara Falls, Ontario L2G 3Y9
1 800 563 2557
905 356 6061